Sports & Recreation

  • Best Bronco

    Von Miller

    With all due respect to Peyton Manning, with whom we're absolutely thrilled to share a state, Von Miller is the member of the Broncos who most exemplifies the future of the franchise. His incredible speed, which has quickly turned him into one of the NFL's most feared pass-rushers, deflects attention from the sort of strength and power that allows him… More >>
  • Best Outlaw

    Brendan Mundorf

    Brendan Mundorf is nothing if not consistent. He's either led or tied for the lead in scoring on the Outlaws each season since 2007. And his efforts show no sign of trailing off. His offensive totals from last year (32 goals, 27 assists and 59 points) were considerably higher than those he registered in 2011 (thirty goals, 15 assists and… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Deshorn Brown

    Deshorn Brown is a rookie and the season is young, so only time will tell if he lives up to his potential. But he's certainly off to a quick start, showing himself to be fast, smart and exciting, with a nose for the net: Early on, he's led the team in most offensive categories, including shots and shots on goal.… More >>
  • Best Mammoth

    John Grant Jr.

    Talk about a no-brainer. John Grant Jr. isn't just the most valuable player on the Mammoth. He's been the most valuable player for the entire National Lacrosse League for two consecutive seasons. And that's appropriate, since he set a new single-season points record (116!) despite missing a couple of games due to a fractured sternum — an injury that no… More >>
  • Best Av

    Ryan O'Reilly

    It may seem counterintuitive to give this honor to a player who's just recently returned to the ice after a long contract holdout and accompanying drama. But Ryan O'Reilly is that good, and getting better. Last year he scored more goals (eighteen), registered more assists (37) and notched more points (55) than he did during any previous season, and if… More >>
  • Best Snowsports Publication

    Snowboard Colorado

    Given the draw that Colorado has for extreme-sports enthusiasts, a magazine showcasing the talents of local and national celebrities (many of whom reside in our resort towns) was inevitable. Since Snowboard Colorado's first printing in fall of 2010, the magazine has continued to highlight the technological advancements in the industry, the strides that Colorado companies have made to push the… More >>
  • Best Ski Porn


    Denver-based Level 1 Productions stepped it up in every sense of the word this year, moving its headquarters out of director Josh Berman's house to more official digs (a new studio and retail space on upper Larimer Street), then releasing Sunny, the best ski film of the season. Berman's thirteenth film in as many years earned him "Best Movie" honors… More >>
  • Best Boards for Locavores — Ski

    Folsom Custom Skis

    In early 2012, Folsom Custom Skis shifted from its full-custom focus to add some shelf-ready stock skis, and moved its operation from Denver to Boulder to help handle increased manufacturing demands. The gamble has been paying off nicely: Folsom's new Rapture skis, with camber underfoot and rockered tips and tails to power through powder, earned a 2013 Editor's Picks nod… More >>
  • Best Boards for Locavores — Snowboard

    Shape Shack by Venture Snowboards

    There's a long tradition of local surfboard shapers carving boards that are custom-cut for their local breaks, and Silverton's Venture Snowboards has taken the cue, inviting guest shapers into the shop and encouraging them to go nuts. Some of the wilder resulting prototypes, like Silverton Mountain owner Aaron Brill's Swallowtail Bomber and big-mountain backcountry legend Johan Olofsson's Powder Pig, have… More >>
  • Best Snowboard-Camp Value

    So-Gnar Snowboard Camp Tour

    The seventh annual So-Gnar Snowboard Camp Tour from Golden-based pro snowboarder Pat Milbery and his fun-loving So-Gnar posse featured local stops at Loveland and Winter Park this season for kids of all ages — with some moms, dads and grandparents in the mix — focused on having fun in the terrain parks and on custom features (like a bright-orange couch)… More >>
  • Best Terrain Park


    The Breckenridge Park & Pipe crew dug in early to roll out the white carpet for the Dew Tour's Ion Mountain Championships in December, then rocked it all season long with five different terrain parks and an Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe. Some of the park's features are first-timer-friendly, offering a safe progression toward the bigger and burlier elements. The biggest and… More >>
  • Best Halfpipe


    Vail celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this season — as well as the 25th anniversary of the day snowboarding pioneer Jake Burton persuaded the ski area to allow snowboarders on the hill — by hiring Snow Park Technologies to build the longest and steepest 22-foot superpipe on the international competition circuit. Olympic gold-medalists Shaun White and Kelly Clark took top honors… More >>
  • Best Place to Train for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

    Woodward at Copper

    The International Olympic Committee has decreed that the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next year will host the ski halfpipe and ski and snowboard slopestyle events for the first time. And the road to Sochi for every aspiring Team USA shredder will run through Copper Mountain, host of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) U.S. Grand Prix, an… More >>
  • Best Way to Plan a "Sick" Day

    If you habitually (cough, cough) check the snow reports from your favorite resort before deciding whether or not to go to work in the morning, then join the club at Already a winner last year, the site got even better this season, upgrading its reporting tools and adding several new forecasters for national perspective (the site now offers detailed… More >>
  • Best Political Statement by a Pro Athlete

    Kenneth Faried supports gay rights

    Kenneth Faried grew up with two loving mothers who married in their home state of New Jersey in 2007. And in January, Faried spoke out in favor of Colorado couples being able to do the same. "Nobody can tell me I can't have two mothers, because I really do," the six-foot-eight-inch basketball player says on a video in which he… More >>
  • Best Place to Snowshoe

    Lost Lake, Eldora

    Situated at a lower elevation than many of Colorado's other favorite snowshoeing trails, Lost Lake, in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, is also fairly simple to get to and includes a variety of trails for a variety of skill sets. The path starts either at the Hessie Trailhead or about a mile before it, depending on conditions, and gets more and… More >>
  • Best Out-of-Town Sledding

    Scott Carpenter Park, Boulder

    Named for astronaut Scott Carpenter, this park features a pool, a skate park and a rocket-ship playground, but that's only a place where kids can blast off. When it snows, locals converge on the long, wide hill with their saucers and sleds to get in on the free fun that comes with living in Colorado.… More >>
  • Best Park for Sledding

    Stapleton Central Park

    One of Denver's newest neighborhoods, Stapleton was specifically designed and laid out with modern families in mind. And at the heart of that foresight is the eighty-acre Central Park, Denver's third-largest, which includes a stage, a playground, lakes, paths, and a giant hill that turns into a winter wonderland for kids after a storm. The slope rises about thirty feet,… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch — Outdoors

    Washington Park

    Parks usually make for good people-watching, but Washington Park, which pops off with free entertainment year-round, is the cream of the crop. You'll find moms pushing strollers the size of ATVs and dads on rollerblades with ski poles; bar-based running clubs in the afternoons and lane-weaving cruiser-bike fanatics; overzealous triathlon types on racing bikes; tanned-and-toned sorority gals; school groups; and,… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch — Indoors

    Cherry Creek Shopping Center

    An indoor retail oasis in the middle of the city, the Cherry Creek Shopping Center has banked on its elite status since opening in 1990. But if you're not shopping, buy a latte and grab a seat — there are several living rooms' worth of cushy furniture and a giant flat-screen TV in front of Abercrombie & Fitch — because… More >>
  • Best Tiny Diorama Animals

    The cats in the Early Denver diorama

    Earlier this year, History Colorado's sprawling diorama of circa-1860 Denver was brought up from the basement, where it underwent a thorough cleaning and restoration, and placed in the lobby under special glass that will hopefully protect its Lilliputian landscape for years to come. The best part of that landscape? Tiny cats the size of ants who are perched on the… More >>
  • Best Denver Zoo Animal Baby

    Makar the Amur leopard

    There's a noble reason behind the Denver Zoo's breeding program, which produces some of the most effing adorable baby animals we've ever seen. For instance: The Amur leopard, a species of spotted, blue-eyed leopard native to Russia, is nearly extinct due to poaching and trophy hunting, but by pairing a male and female Amur leopard, lighting a few candles and… More >>
  • Best Denver Zoo Booty Call

    Chewbacca and Daisy

    The Denver Zoo is much like a meddling mother when it comes to love. It's constantly bringing in potential mates for its most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes under the auspices of a "species survival plan" — the animal equivalent of your parents inviting the neighbors' unmarried son over for supper and then commenting about how a grandchild or two would… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Foothills Community Dog Park

    Tucked away in Boulder's north end, this modest two-acre retreat has much to recommend it, pooch-wise — including separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, great surrounding scenery, and a less chaotic vibe than larger parks or the sprawling off-leash areas at the reservoirs. Recent upgrades at Foothills Community Dog Park, including shelters and water lines, make this an… More >>
  • Best Park for Running

    Washington Park

    Washington Park is like the Studio 54 of running: Anyone who's anyone jogs there. But there's a good reason for its popularity: miles of wide and well-kept trails. The bounty of fellow runners also means it's easy to eavesdrop on personal conversations, which is always entertaining. Plus, running sucks, and it's comforting to be among other people who are suffering… More >>
  • Best Park for Cycling

    City Park

    Yes, construction and goose poop pose constant challenges, but its 7.5 miles of bike paths make City Park a clear favorite for cyclists of all bents — especially the ones who don't want to brave the hordes of "serious" cyclists at Washington Park. Great views of the skyline, water features, creature features, and quick access to Uptown restaurants, a vibrant… More >>
  • Best Rain-or-Shine Ride


    The Loops bike ride is always on. Hosted by musician, graphic designer and cycling enthusiast Broox Pulford, the weekly cruise for fixies is open to anyone interested in a fun, all-levels group ride. Loops meets up at Crema Coffee House every Tuesday night around 7 p.m. before taking off on a pre-determined route of streets and paths picked by Pulford.… More >>
  • Best Train Trip

    Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

    Denverites are still mourning the loss of the Ski Train to Winter Park, but the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is a hell of a consolation prize. Although the owners of this company weren't able to pick up where the Ski Train left off, they offer incredible trips across southern Colorado, where the vistas are scenic, indeed — through tunnels, around… More >>
  • Best New Bike Event

    Pedal the Plains

    Last September's inaugural Pedal the Plains couldn't have gone better. The three-day ride through the close-knit communities of Colorado's eastern plains inspired plenty of people to trade in the painful slow climbs and downhill rocketing of mountain marathons for the flat roads of the prairie and its anachronistic small-town atmosphere. A focus on history and heritage made it fun for… More >>
  • Best Skate Park

    Erie Community Skate Park

    Pro skater Rob Dyrdek, founder of the Street League Skateboarding series, stopped by in March to inaugurate the new $1.2 million, 16,800-square-foot Erie Community Skate Park, the first Street League-branded public facility. The skate park, which officially opened in January of this year, has already become a mecca for street skaters. A minimalist masterpiece, it was built by California Skateparks… More >>
  • Best Zipline

    Zip Adventures

    Careening Spiderman-style across Alkali Canyon on ziplines as long as 1,000 feet and as high as 600 feet above the canyon floor with Zip Adventures (near Wolcott and not far from the Vail and Beaver Creek resorts) provides the best buzz of the many zipline tours that have popped up in mountain towns in recent years. At $150, it's also… More >>
  • Best Park for a Summertime Date

    Lakeside Amusement Park

    With its gorgeously neon-lit grounds, Lakeside Amusement Park looks like an idyllic movie set, which makes it the perfect place for a summer date night. Whether you're canoodling on the Ferris wheel, jointly steering the Skoota Boats or peering out over Lake Rhoda from the cockpit of the shaky, hydraulically powered Satellite rocket ship together, the park encapsulates old-fashioned romance.… More >>
  • Best Park for a Picnic

    Confluence Park

    Confluence Park, on the banks of the South Platte River, may be better known for sunbathing, people watching and kayaking, but this urban park rises above the rest for one important reason when it comes to picnics: the distinct absence of goose poop. While many of Denver's other green spaces are blanketed in the stuff, Confluence doesn't suffer from the… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Kenneth Faried

    Why ex-Morehead State standout Kenneth Faried fell to the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft despite an astonishingly electric performance at that year's NCAA men's basketball tournament is beyond us. But we couldn't be happier. Faried is energy personified, consistently outworking and out-hustling everyone on the floor at any given time — and while he's still prone to defensive… More >>
  • Best Outdoorsy Gift From the Past

    Denver Mountain Parks

    If you think elections don't matter, then consider the past. In May 1912, Denver citizens went to the polls and voted in favor of a mill levy, backed by Mayor Robert Speer, that provided funding for the acquisition of a park system in the foothills and mountains where people could go to get away from city life. Today that system… More >>
  • Best Denver Mountain Park

    Summit Lake

    How many major cities can offer a stroll in the tundra, 12,840 feet above sea level? Only one. High on Mount Evans, Summit Lake is the jewel of Denver's century-old mountain-park system, offering spectacular views to photographers and a highly manageable trail for youngsters and elders. Summer this high in the Rockies is all too brief, but that's all the… More >>
  • Best Park for Fishing

    Bear Creek Lake Park

    Good fishing close to home can be hard to come by in landlocked Colorado. But Bear Creek Lake Park is an exception. For $7 per vehicle, anglers both new and experienced can try their hand at catching rainbow trout, perch, smallmouth bass and saugeye during the summer or winter. And if your family and friends aren't into sitting around and… More >>
  • Best Mascot


    Rocky has ruled the Denver mascots roost since the era when he was pretty much the only reason to pay attention during the second half of Nuggets games, and he's become such an institution that players from other teams are eager to bask in his limelight. Witness Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, who had the gall to block a couple of… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby Name

    Fiona Grapple

    Beth "Fiona Grapple" Bandimere is a blocker for the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls' Sugar Kill Gang and team captain of the 5280 Fight Club all-star squad, and already has a national roller derby championship title to show for herself. Her nom de derby channels mid-'90s malcontent Fiona Apple, rather obviously, but also captures the full spirit of fighting for every inch… More >>
  • Best Under-Eighteen Roller Derby Team

    Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks

    The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls league has a minimum age requirement of eighteen for its adult teams, but has been building its recruit pool (and fan base) with a year-long junior program that has become a statewide and national model after being prominently featured in Robin Bond's 2012 documentary Derby Baby. The Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks welcomes "Littles" Division girls and boys… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby Team

    Mile High Club

    There are now eight Colorado-based roller derby leagues sanctioned by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association, and the Denver Roller Dolls was the best of them in 2012, by far: DRD's Mile High Club all-star team took second at the 2012 "Bay of Reckoning" West Region Playoffs in Richmond, California, in September, and third at the 2012 WFTDA National Championships… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby Skater

    Sandrine "Francey Pants" Rangeon

    The Denver Roller Dolls imported jammer Sandrine "Francey Pants" Rangeon — a former ice hockey player for the French national team — from the Montreal Roller Derby league in 2012, and just in time. She helped lead the Dolls' Mile High Club to the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's West Region Playoffs in September, where she set a record for… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar for Food and Drink

    Highland Tap & Burger

    Highland Tap & Burger isn't just a sports bar — but you wouldn't know that on game day, when this LoHi spot is packed with hat boys and bros cheering and jeering whatever's playing on the many TVs, drinking beers, taking occasional smoke breaks on the patio, and stuffing their faces with the great food that comes out of the… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar for Playing Games

    Blake Street Tavern

    Three years ago, the Blake Street Tavern moved from the modest warehouse spot it had occupied for almost seven years to a massive space a block south, with a great back patio, a big bar, an ambitious kitchen, an arcade area and plenty of room to watch games — or just the people around you. And now bigger is becoming… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Carlos Gonzalez

    We know, we know: CarGo's stats fell off in a significant way between 2011 and 2012, when his batting average went from an extraordinary .333 to a pedestrian .259. But whether or not his production reduction had to do with pressure he put on himself after signing a huge contract, he's still the most complete player on the Rockies' roster,… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar for Watching Games

    Chopper's Sports Grill

    If you're serious about watching the game, any game, head directly to Chopper's Sports Grill, which takes its sports very seriously. Chopper's, which has stood its ground in Cherry Creek for decades, is named for Bob "Chopper" Travaglini, the late, beloved Denver Nuggets trainer, and it's a real sports bar, with memorabilia and TVs hanging in every nook and cranny… More >>
  • Best Radio Sports Show

    CJ & Kreckman

    Nate Kreckman hasn't always received the attention he's deserved for being one of the most entertaining sports-radio personalities in Denver. Likewise, partner Charles Johnson has occasionally been dismissed as a walking, talking advertisement for University of Colorado athletics. But their partnership is finally earning notice, and not just locally, but beyond: Their interview with ex-CU tight end Nick Kasa, in… More >>
  • Best TV Sportscaster

    Vic Lombardi

    Sports is sometimes described as the toy department of TV news — but it matters mightily to a lot of us, and to Vic Lombardi, too. Far from seeming bored by decades of watching guys and girls run around, he comes across as passionately engaged with the glories and goofiness of athletic competition — awestruck when something unusual or remarkable… More >>
  • Best Sports Announcer

    Mike Haynes

    Mike Haynes honed his style on the radio, a medium in which his high-octane pronouncements were necessary. After all, he had to help listeners picture what was happening, and he managed to do so better than anyone in the market. But he's proved to be just as adept at calling the action on TV. He knows the game inside and… More >>
  • Best Coach — College

    Larry Eustachy

    Larry Eustachy is a master at maximizing talent. His collegiate coaching history is littered with teams he's taken from perennial cellar-dwellers to NCAA Tournament appearances. He didn't begin in as big of a hole when he took over the Colorado State University job, but once again, he's taken a team of quality upperclassmen with middling athletic ability to the top… More >>
  • Best Coach — Pro

    George Karl

    George Karl has been around for a minute: This season, he passed Larry Brown to become the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history. But despite his veteran status and numerous well-documented health issues, he's not phoning in his efforts. His current Nuggets squad is filled with talented players but no superstars — yet somehow, he's managed to mold them into a… More >>
  • Best Women's College Team

    University of Colorado women's basketball

    The University of Colorado women's basketball team finished its regular season ranked nineteenth nationally and fourth in a stacked Pac-12 conference. They had two winning streaks of ten and eleven games, respectively, and they snagged a five seed in this year's NCAA Tournament. The next step for the Buffs? Make it past the first round.… More >>
  • Best Sports Team — College

    Colorado State University men's basketball

    The race for college basketball dominance in Colorado is on, and we're hoping it continues for years. This season, the CSU Rams lost their only head-to-head match-up with the University of Colorado, but on the whole, Colorado State had an excellent season, finishing second in the Mountain West conference and getting into the NCAA Tournament alongside their rivals from Boulder.… More >>
  • Best Sports Team — Professional

    Denver Broncos

    Oh, what a sweet feeling it is to look forward to a Broncos season. It hasn't been that way for a while, either because of overt mediocrity or cosmic flukery of the Tim Tebow variety. Peyton Manning has changed all with his work ethic and his incredible skill set, not to mention durability (so far) that's surprised even some of… More >>
  • Best Mountain-Bike Park

    Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park

    Winter Park's Trestle Bike Park puts the resort so far ahead of other ski areas wrangling to offer off-season adventure that it might just as well be dubbed Summer Park. The bike park is open daily from mid-June through late September, with up to three chairlifts spinning during peak hours to service a vast network of singletrack trails, downhill bombers… More >>